Explorers begin historic Arctic ocean crossing

Last edited 11 May 2005 at 7:00am
11 May, 2005

First ever unsupported summer crossing of the Arctic ocean commences to show first hand impact of global warming

CAPE ARTCHITESKY, Russia - Two polar explorers set off today from a remote region of Siberia on a historic trek to make the first ever unsupported summer crossing of the Arctic ocean. Lonnie Dupre and Eric Larsen will have to endure a four month, 1,240 miles (2000 km) trek of unpredictable sea ice and frigid open water. The two man team using skis and specially designed canoes left Cape Arctichesky, Siberia today and will travel across the North Pole before ending the expedition in Ellesmere Island, Canada. Expedition leader Lonnie Dupre teamed up with Greenpeace to ensure that this summer crossing of the Arctic would have a strong global warming message. Visitors to Greenpeace's www.projectthinice.org will be able to follow their journey, see updates, and find out ways to take action against climate change. The team will be facing a raft of dangers on the trip; a melting polar ice cap, thick fog, areas of open seas littered with huge blocks of ice and areas of solid ice with thigh deep slush.

"The idea for this expedition came when I was circumnavigating Greenland and a map showed two glaciers that should have been there but no longer were. What should have been a solid ice pack had disappeared completely," said Lonnie Dupre, expedition leader. "I knew then that I wanted to embark on an expedition to show the world the dangers of global warming."

At the same time as the two man expedition are crossing the Arctic, Greenpeace will be in Greenland with the ship Arctic Sunrise, hosting scientists and investigating and documenting the effects of climate change in the region. The Arctic Sunrise, an ice class ship, will then head for Lincoln sea in Canada to meet the explorers at the finish of the expedition.

"Global warming is happening now, not in some distance future and 2005 will be a critical year for enforcing solutions," said Melanie Duchin, Greenpeace climate campaigner, who will be onboard the Arctic Sunrise in Greenland. "We hope that every mile these explorers travel will empower people around the world to take action against global warming."

Eric Larsen, expedition team member stated: "Our world is a fragile place, and it needs to be protected for all the average people-explorers, activists and everyone else still to come."

Note

Greenpeace will try to faciliate interviews from the ice for media. Requests must be made at least one week in advance and due to the nature of the expedition availability will be limited.

For more information please contact Greenpeace Press Office on 0207 865 8255

Stills and video of the expedition members in training available, please call Greenpeace Press Office on 0207 865 8255

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